With South Africa the way it is, you wonder why there aren’t more artistic statements like this. As it is, political opinion of this impassioned, radical stripe is limited to your more Africanist poetry nights, Black Twitter, and of late, Parliament.
If art reflects society, then this song and video by Dookoom has a right to exist because millions of people feel this way. People have been dispossessed of their land for centuries, it continues and they are angry about it.
The fact that that anger is not expressed more often is most surprising.
While it might not be surprising, Larney Jou Poes, Dookoom’s incendiary new music video, is a powerful statement for sure. It premiered on City Press recently and on Vice’s music channel Noisey.
The first track on their new EP, A Gangster Called Big Times, Larney Jou Poes tells the story of a farm uprising in the Western Cape, where tensions have flared regularly between farmers and workers. There was a notable uprising in 2012, partly over dissatisfaction with the R69/day minimum wage.
“Farmer Abrahams had many farms; many farms had farmer Abrahams,” sings Cape Flats underground legend and Die Antwoord collaborator Isaac Mutant, updating the children’s gospel song Father Abraham. “I work one of them, and so do you, so let’s go burn one down.” The music video ends with the band having branded their logo onto the farm.
Minority rights group AfriForum has laid a complaint of hate speech against Dookoom with the South African Human Rights Commission, but Isaac says, “We’re not inciting violence. No one gets hurt in the video. But it’s about claiming the land and being angry, because we have a right to be angry.”
Larney Jou Poes is an impressive debut from director-to-watch Dane Dodds. “When Isaac sent me a few tracks to choose from, Larney Jou Poes made me feel the most uncomfortable,” says Dane. “As the son of a farmer, I know those feelings are there, so I just wanted to make people talk about them, because they’re often swept under the carpet.”
Dane’s just launched a production company, Sirius Tales. For more information, visit www.siriustales.com.
Dookoom recently signed to 88 Management. For more information, visit http://dookoom.bandcamp.com/.